You probably remember learning about why we celebrate Independence Day from school. The narrative always includes how the British kept imposing these oppressive laws on the colonists – laws that included the Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, Stamp Act, and the Townshend Act to name a few. When the colonists felt oppressed by this faraway government they decided to revolt, and as you learned in school, this led to the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party.
What we’re celebrating on Independence day is simple: the crown was over taxing colonists without giving them any representation in Parliament, and British soldiers were writing their own arbitrary search warrants, being forced to be housed by colonists’, and were forcing colonists to surrender their arms and munitions. So our founding fathers decided to sign the Declaration of Independence because they were sick of tyranny.
Today, Independence Day is about baseball games and hot dogs, BBQs and cookouts, and fighter jet flyovers and fireworks. Although that’s all fun, exciting, and celebratory, it seems as if Americans today aren’t being as critical of their government as our founding fathers were. Independence Day is about freedom and liberty yet today it seems like Americans are okay with not fighting for freedom or liberty.
As we all know, Edward Snowden leaked details of the US government’s massive surveillance program. While some of us are completely outraged by the government doing this, the response I hear from other people is, “Well I have nothing to hide.” If we’re supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave, why are we not concerned with this? Not just that, why aren’t we making more noise?! I mean in colonial Boston they protested a monopoly on tea by raiding ships that had tea and dumping it in the harbor. Today our government is watching our every move and we just sit back and accept it.
Edward Snowden said it right in his statement from Moscow:
“In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.”
This Independence Day, while we watch beautiful fireworks, eat hot dogs, and drink beer, we must remember why we celebrate this holiday in the first place. In actuality, the Founding Fathers were revolting against a government that was oppressing them. Today we have a government that doesn’t trust us and that many are blindly following, but we can’t let them. We must demand the constitutional government we were promised.
If you felt inspired by this post, consider attending a Restore the Fourth rally today, happening in over 100 locations around the country.